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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February Ends on a Blue Note

 In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race.

Jennifer Agiesta at CNN:
Democrats once again hold a wide advantage in a generic congressional matchup, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, backed by a base of supporters who are more enthusiastic than Republican partisans and more motivated by core issues.
The poll finds 54% of registered voters say they back a Democrat in their congressional district, 38% say they back a Republican. That's a shift in favor of the Democrats since January, bringing their advantage in a hypothetical generic matchup to about the same level as early 2006, a year in which the party won control of both the House and the Senate.
Read the full poll results
Agiesta also reports:
President Donald Trump's approval rating in a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS stands at 35%, down five points over the last month to match his lowest level yet.
The slide follows a January bump in approval for the President, a finding that appeared connected to a bullish stock market and strong reviews for the economy. His new rating matches a December poll, which marked his lowest approval rating in CNN polling since taking office in January 2017.
Republicans had been thinking that the tax law would help them. They might think again. Brian Faler at Politico:
The glitches in the new tax law are starting to pile up.
One inadvertently denies restaurants, retailers and others generous new write-offs for things like remodeling.

Another would allow wealthy money managers to sidestep a crackdown on lucrative tax breaks that allows them to pay lower taxes on some of their income than ordinary wage earners. A third creates two different start dates for new rules that make it harder for businesses to shave their tax bills.
There are dozens of other snafus, hitting everything from real estate investments to multinational corporations to farmers.
It’s hardly surprising there would be bugs in the sprawling new law H.R. 1 (115), but some experts say the sheer number is unusual, and blame the breakneck pace at which the legislation was pushed through Congress.
“This is not normal,” said Marty Sullivan, chief economist at the nonpartisan Tax Analysts. “There’s always this kind of stuff, but the order of magnitude is entirely different.”
Michael Malbin finds that Democratic are financially competitive:
It is clear from this table that Democrats are focusing where the political opportunities are. They have challengers with more than $100,000 in more than 90 percent of the seats that lean Democrat, or that lean Republican by 5 points or less. In open-seat races (where incumbency is not a factor working against them) the Democrats are also contesting 86 percent of the seats that lean Republican by 6-10 points. Thus, the Democrats are not only targeting the most obvious races with an underlying Democratic partisanship. Sticking to these races would not give them a chance to gain 24 seats. Instead, they are also reaching into their opponents’ territory, looking to pick up districts that normally swing Republican.